Thursday 28 August 2008

Senator Joyce wants emergency heritage listing

Today the Senate passed a motion raised by Queensland Senators Barnaby Joyce and the Hon Ian Macdonald called for Peter Garrett as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, to "accede to the Emergency Listing Request" for the Cairns Yacht Club under National Heritage guidelines.

The motion noted that a petition of 10,300 signatures was presented on behalf of Cairns and the greater Queensland community to stop the demolition of the National Trust listed (Endangered Building) and National Estate registered Cairns Yacht Club building.

“To date, the absence of any action from the Minister is a clear sign that Labor is failing to recognise and act upon significant community issues," Senator Joyce said to Parliament.

He also commended the efforts of the people of Cairns to fight for the protection of the historic Yacht Club building. He said he would continue to support the amnesty of this architecturally significant part of the history of Cairns.

"It's a small victory for Cairns and for history," Joyce says. Following the presentation,
Senator Ludlam, along with Senator Bob Brown, asked in the House that it be noted that the Greens were also supporting the Motion asked for details on the Yacht Club building.

Garrett is expected to respond to this tomorrow. You'd expect to get a defining intervention from the green-loving politician.

In a speech that should come back to haunt him, should he not act on the Cairns Yacht Club, Garrett spoke on national heritage in 1999 about Sydney. He said the city encompasses the "built and natural forms which are expressions of a continuing culture."

"Many a planner and politician can attest, the dynamics of urban growth consistently overwhelm the level of effort required to preserve natural and cultural heritage," Garret said at the National Trust annual lecture.

"The national estate or Real Estate? It's crunch time for Sydney," he said.

"It isn't that we don't think historic buildings should be preserved, or rivers brought back to health, most of us do. But we seem unable to curtail or mediate this dynamic force. The result, an environment that is in trouble. Some would say this message has lost force for want of continuous repeating. But in the same breath we might observe the same fact about our heritage."

"In the case of the environment, and tonight I mean the environment of the Sydney Basin, the evidence is that it is in a state of extreme stress. No one seriously disputes this fact, and many residents experience it as worsening air quality, vanishing bush, suburban over-development, highly congested roads, threats to water supplies, noise pollution and so on, all which mar their place of living.

Garrett's Midnight Oil, who played at the historic Cloudland in Brisbane, for which he has a soft spot, immortalised the demolition in his song Dreamworld (from the Diesel and Dust album). The song attacked the greed of the pro-development forces, as Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen ordered the midnight demolition.

It's kind of obvious that the Cairns Yacht Club building is the Cloudland of Cairns.

Hold your breath. We're all waiting Peter.

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